My story is about a family, specifically the son of that family, who crashlands on a legendary planet, Zydekka. It's sort of a "Space Atlantis." They are greeted by a race already living there, having crashed there themselves about a century before. Stuff happens, because of the kid, and the once lost planet becomes the equivalent of the California gold fields around 1850. What this means to the artist side of me is that there is going to be a lot of aliens to design, along with their fashions, their technology and possibly their cultures.
STAR TREK vs STAR WARS
I intend this to be a comedy adventure book similar to my DARKWING DUCK TV Series with more continuity or DUCKTALES with more Carl Barks. That gives me lots of liberty when it comes to science, designs, and depictions of alien biology. But my gut tells me that if the world is a little more grounded, the broad comedy will play better in contrast. Plus, I want to instill a sense of wonder in the reader, however humor-based. My central monsters morph and combine all manifestations of animal, vegetable, and mineral. That should be seen as something amazing by the characters in the story. If every alien is outrageous looking, how does a walking rutabaga stand out?
Star Trek, for the most part, tries to present a limited federation of planets. You repeatedly see the same types of aliens and get a feeling for their cultures. It often reduces entire species to a single trait - unemotional Vulcans, aggressive Klingons, greedy Ferengi, etc.. Much of that was due to TV budgets. It also allowed for some heavy-handed theme explorations. Star Wars is a celebration of diversity, so much so that it's almost a big deal to see more than one of the same species. Even there, controlling costs meant reusing masks and makeups. When you think of the incredible variety of human forms on this planet, the limitations of even the biggest budget films become obvious.
So where does that leave me? I intend to lean toward Star Trek for the same budget reasons. It's not money but time. I want to get on with telling stories. Having fewer alien races should cut down on my design time. But I intend to include many a one-off character if there's a decent sight gag to be had.
When creating a more primitive culture, I have a mental default to go with a race living in the tropics sporting loincloths and not much else. But here I started with a Northern European look from a Viking culture then replaced fur with feathers. I replaced leather and animal hides with a sort of tunic and wrap of wardrobe. This seems workable for now. I'll do more exploring when I get to that part of the story. I played around with beaks but these characters need to be more expressive. I suppose that's strange coming from a guy who dealt with superhero ducks. I gave them slit noses and flattened the back of their heads. I made them humanoid, saving weirder ideas for indigenous wildlife,extraplanetary visitors, or my metamorphing monsters.
Actually, the first aliens shown in the story are Rocket's classmates. They disappear after the first three pages of the comic however, some of them may be species that will eventually homestead the planet.
I like the two aliens on the bottom row along with the elephant kid. Note how rectangular the head of the dot-eyed kid is. Is that a species trait or just normal cartoon design? The same alien could have a triangle, oblong or peanut head. I guess I'll figure that out when I get there. Next time, I'll share some background design exploration. --Tad